A Computational Approach Identified Andrographolide as a Potential Drug for Suppressing COVID-19-Induced Cytokine Storm.
Front Immunol. 2021;12:648250. Epub 2021 Jun 24. PMID: 34248936
Background: The newly identified betacoronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is the causative pathogen of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) that killed more than 3.5 million people till now. The cytokine storm induced in severe COVID-19 patients causes hyper-inflammation, is the primary reason for respiratory and multi-organ failure and fatality. This work uses a rational computational strategy to identifythe existing drug molecules to target host pathways to reduce the cytokine storm.
Results: We used a "" consist of 36 genes induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated with cytokine storm. In order to attenuate the cytokine storm, potential drug molecules were searched against. Our study identified that drug molecule andrographolide, naturally present in a medicinal plant, has the potential to bind with crucial proteins to block the TNF-induced NFkB1 signaling pathway responsible for cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. The molecular docking method showed the binding of andrographolide with TNF and covalent binding with NFkB1 proteins of the TNF signaling pathway.
Conclusion: We used a rational computational approach to repurpose existing drugs targeting host immunomodulating pathways. Our study suggests that andrographolide could bind with TNF and NFkB1 proteins, block TNF-induced cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients, and warrant further experimental validation.